Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA), has spoken on social media in recent days in support of Chinese work practice known as "996." The number refers six days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is said to be a lot for the major technology companies and start-ups in the country.
"If we find things we like, 996 is no problem," said Ma Sunday in a blog on Weibo, a Chinese social media site. "If you don't like it [your work]"Every minute is torture," he added.
Ma & # 39; s comments prompted criticism from Chinese social media users.
"Have you ever thought of the elderly at home who need care, (or) the children who need company?" wrote a Weibo user with the online moniker stupidcan123, in response to Ma's post. "If all companies enforce a 996 schedule, no one will have children" because of a lack of time, she added.
Chinese state media also fooled those companies that put the staff in the office for hours without referring to Ma's post. "Advocating hard work and dedication does not mean you have to force overtime," the state-led newspaper People & Daily said in a commentary published on Sunday. "The mandatory enforcement of the 996 overtime culture not only reflects the arrogance of business managers, but is also unfair and impractical."
& # 39; Not just overtime & # 39;
Ma said he had no intention of defending the practice of long working days, but wanted to "pay tribute" to employees who did.
"The real 996 is not just overtime," he said, adding that everyone has the right to choose their own lifestyle, but those who work shorter hours "won't taste the happiness and rewards of hard work."
Ma is perhaps the best known entrepreneur in China. The tech tycoon has become famous in a poor family and has not been academically successful. He started Alibaba with cash scraped by friends.
The 54-year-old executive power ventured into the debate on China's long working hours on Thursday, around 996, when the comments he made to Alibaba employees were posted to the company's Weibo account. Ma said he had never regretted working twelve days.
"I personally think 996 is a great blessing," he said. "How do you achieve the desired success without needing extra effort and time?"
Ma added that all future employees of Alibaba, one of the world's largest tech companies, must be willing to work 12 hours a day if they want to succeed. "Or why make an effort to participate? We don't miss those who work comfortably for eight hours," he said.
Other high-profile people in the technical industry in China have reportedly defended long working days in the technology industry. Richard Liu, founder of Alibaba rival JD.com (JD), allegedly criticized company employees who did not work hard enough as & # 39; slackers & # 39 ;.
An Alibaba spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ma's social media messages or the company's overtime policy.
Long working days in the high-tech sector are not unique to China. Tesla (TSLA) Co-founder Elon Musk said earlier that he worked up to 120 hours a week when the electric vehicle manufacturer struggled with production delays.
"There are much easier places to work, but nobody has ever changed the world 40 hours a week," he said Posted
on the social media site Twitter in November last year.